16 October 2020 Appleton '23 Completes Basic Training

How do you follow up a strong first semester at Hobart College? If you’re Jacob Appleton ’23, you take a semester off to complete basic training to enlist in the U.S. Army Reserves.

“I’ve always wanted to serve our country in some capacity,” says Appleton, a physics major who made Dean’s List. “My uncle was a green beret and an airborne ranger, so I always thought I’d love to serve our country in the military.”

Appleton completed the 10 weeks of training at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C. He spent two weeks doing physical training, two weeks of team building exercises, three weeks of rifle marksmanship and three weeks of military strategy and tactics. “It was special in the end when all of your hard work pays off and you’re an American soldier,” says Appleton recalling the pride he felt when his sergeant first called him a soldier.

After getting up at 5 a.m. every morning for training, he’s become a morning person and scheduled all of his classes in the morning this semester. Appleton believes the top benefit he got from basic training was learning from and working with a wide range of people. He shared a barracks with 60 other trainees from every background and corner of the country.

Appleton also values the mental and physical toughness the Army instilled in him. “You really learn to push yourself mentally and to stay calm and composed in a stressful situation,” Appleton says.

As a member of the Reserves, he will commit one weekend per month and two weeks during the year to training. This summer, his advanced individual training will be at music school, serving as a member of the Army Reserves band.

In addition to the drums and other percussion instruments, he also plays guitar and piano. Appleton enjoys jazz music and hopes to join the HWS Jazz Ensemble when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

A native of nearby Bloomfield, N.Y., he was a three-sport athlete at Lima Christian School, winning a Section V Championship in baseball and two individual Section V Championships in cross country. At HWS, Appleton continued to run at Hobart, twice earning the Liberty League Men’s Cross Country Rookie of the Week award and Hobart’s 2019-20 Rookie Award for Cross Country. On the race course, he was the top Statesmen finisher twice during the season and placed in the top 20 at five races and earned All-ECAC honors with a ninth-place finish at the ECAC Championships.

He credits his smooth transition to college life to the influence of his teammates, particularly the seniors. “Coming into college, just having a team to be with helps the whole transition,” Appleton says. “The seniors were always there to ask questions and explain how they got where they were.”